Starting a New Job: The Social and Emotional Experience of People with Intellectual Disabilities

Andrew Jahoda, Pauline Banks, Dave Dagnan, Jeremy Kemp, Wendy Kerr, Victoria Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)




Employment is viewed by policy makers as both a human right and as a means of changing the marginalized status of people with intellectual disabilities, with important social and emotional benefits. However, there has been little longitudinal research examining the experience of people with intellectual disabilities in the workplace.


Thirty-five individuals with mild to borderline intellectual disabilities participated in this study. They were recruited from supported employment agencies in Scotland. A longitudinal approach was adopted, with the participants being interviewed around the time of starting their jobs, and again 9-12 months later.


The content analyses of the semi-structured interviews indicated that the participants perceived continuing benefits from entering mainstream employment, including more purposeful lives and increased social status. However, over the follow-up period the participants reported few social opportunities that extended beyond the workplace, and an anxiety about their competence to meet employers' demands remained a concern for some.


The discussion addresses the importance of understanding work in relation to the participants' wider lives, along with the longer-term role for supported employment agencies to help people achieve their social and emotional goals in a vocational context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-425
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009


  • emotions
  • inclusion
  • intellectual disability
  • supported employment
  • well-being


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